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TwitBomb: What A Woman Needs

2012 May 21


Age old question, really, this one, and one where “want” and “need” are often made unhelpfully interchangable, just to make it EVEN SIMPLER.

Welcome back to Feminist TwitBomb, Deluxe Edition, in which we take a sexist Twitter hashtag and try and make it slightly less soul-harrowingly bleak by exploring its inherent absurdity, usually with caps lock, bad puns, and the sudden appearance of wildlife. Previously on this channel: how #TipsForLadies was skewered.

Abridged (But Still Frustrating) History Of The #WhatAWomanNeeds Question

  • 14th century: The Wife of Bath tells us one particular knight (and rapist) had a complicated time working it out.
  • 1920s: Freud facetiously prattled about it (often available as a patronising e-card or rubbish Tumblr graphic. Life=complete).
  • 1993: Tammy Wynette warbled “a ring on my finger and champagne on ice” at Elton John in a song helpfully titled A Woman’s Needs; if you are lucky enough to have these items to hand, I advise you to down the entire bottle before you try to listen.
  • 1999: Even Christina Aguilera is disappointingly lyrically coy about it – the song is originally titled What A Girl Needs and renamed to Wants by the record label execs. FOR FEMINISM, I assume. (Either way, apparently the answer is “whatever her dude wants her to want/need”).

PROBLEMATIC, as Tumblr might say.

It’s all fine, though, guys, because TWITTER TO THE RESCUE. Eat your heart out, Sigmund, Xtina and Geoff, for the question will now be answered.


An initial peek at the feed for this trending topic was a little bit unedifying. I’ve anonymised the authors because they’re really only being quoted for background. The fun comes later when you lot get involved.

“Curves and long hair”

Does it matter where the hair is? Can it be in my nostrils?

“Endless closet space”


“a guy who will protect her like she’s his daughter, love her like she’s his wife, and respect her like she’s his mother.”

Apart from the fact that many of us do not fancy these things at all (or men), this is a worryingly ambitious MAIDEN-MOTHER-CRONE SUPERCONFLATION, and I am not paying his therapy bill when shit gets too confusing.

“oven mittens”

… hoo, boy, watch out, sisterhood. This dude’s a serious wordsmith.

“to meet One Direction”

Ah, shit. *throws up hands* Busted.

You get the picture there, anyway: high time, we decided, for a cheering TwitBomb session.

Screenshot of BadRep tweet reading: WE WOULD SUGGEST a) equal pay b) reproductive justice c) spare mp3 of "Get Down On It" d) selection of trained pheasants #whatawomanneeds

What the hell is this world where neither the pay gap nor Kool and the Gang are given true credence.

Amazingly, all these things can benefit blokes, too.

Tweet from @missmcq: @BadRepUK A hoverboard, a selection of fine cheeses and a wisecracking mandrill sidekick #whatawomanneeds
Now we’re talking, ladies. Now we’re talking.

From a friend on a locked account:

Tweet reading: pith helmet, blunderbuss and a nice hot cup of tea #whatawomanneeds

(In a strictly non-imperialist way, mind: no colonial elephant-hunting or dodgy empiring here. The helmet will be ethically sourced in a fetching shade of electric blue fairtrade material and will mainly be worn by the aforementioned wisecracking mandrill. Whom I have named Artemisia.)

Image of a mandrill - an ape with colourful blue snout - from Wikipedia, shared under fair use guidelines.

"Fuck Jimmy Choo."

I got pretty wrapped up in this whole sweetly awesome world we were creating, actually.

Seriously. I cannot believe LEGO are still spraying all their “girl budget” on pastel shades whilst failing entirely to address the lack of ladypirates in this product’s long and otherwise noble lineage. Yes, I know there was one or two. One or two is NOT ENOUGH.

It just fucks with my chi, that whole business, okay?

Tweet by @godigumdrop: @BadRepUK A highway to adventure! #whatawomanneeds

OK, I feel better now :).

Tweet from @theviciouspixie: raptor-proof housing

Stellar advice from one of the brilliant Better Strangers Opera collective there. (The Apocalypse Girls would be proud.)

This next one actually broke into the Top Entries for this hashtag, which I frankly regard as one of my life’s crowning achievements so far. It’s sitting there, nestled loudly between Smug “Oven Mitts” Guy and Creepy Oedipal Posturings. It’s ruining the vibe of patronage-and-patronising quite nicely. Proud moment.


(I feel like a load of Level 50 Gyrados waving DEFEND THE NHS placards would only be a good thing, really.)

A hat trick of pragmatism for us all from our own Markgraf. By the way, this team is never going to conduct a TwitBomb without reference to the noble pheasant at some point. No reason. It’s just better than ovens, chivalry and sleaze. And when these sorts of ridiculous generalisations continue to be hashtagged, surely anything goes.

image of a pheasant, from wikimedia commons, taken by Lukasz Lukasik, shared under Creative Commons licensing

"hey girl"

Other Vital LadyNeeds(TM)

  • Reasonable Armour
  • “A BRA THAT FECKING FITS PROPERLY! Also no more sexism ever please”
  • “additional bionic arms”
  • Destruction of tedious genderessentialism
  • Awesome orchestral movie soundtrack for daily life
  • A violent end to the categorisation of “WOMEN” (and “men”!) as amorphous Borg-like blobs of sexist predictability, unvaried by differences of any kind

And More Seriously

…you’d be hard pressed to argue with this one, whoever you are.

Tweet by Zakaria: #whatawomanneeds Total, utter, universal equality and respect. @BadRepUK @thefworduk

I’m glad we had this talk, Twitter. Now this pressing question’s been answered, we can all get back to the revolution.

Hoverboards, DEPLOY.

17 Responses leave one →
  1. Markgraf permalink
    May 21, 2012

    Who DOESN’T need a pheasant, though? They’re such lovely birds, and super easy to tame.

  2. Markgraf permalink
    May 21, 2012


    • Miranda permalink*
      May 21, 2012



      • sykobee permalink
        May 21, 2012

        Happy, Hopping Woodpecker > Rather Stupid Pheasant

        (except roasted, but the oven’s broken so the Pheasant is safe … for now)

  3. Russell permalink
    May 21, 2012

    I still say that in a world filled with dragons (both friendly and unfriendly), cave trolls (usually unfriendly until you get to know them) and ice moths (OHGODTHEICEMOTHS), some form of training with martial weapons (swords, axes, maces) and some skill with ranged weapons (bows, spears, maybe even a blunderbuss for the adventurous) is essential for women. And men. And anyone else who doesn’t want their limbs torn off by a surly cave troll.

    • Miranda permalink*
      May 21, 2012

      I know, right?! That’s totally the world I live in if we allow for a smidgen of allegorical colouring.



      • Russell permalink
        May 21, 2012

        Everything I say is allegory. Including this.

        • Miranda permalink*
          May 21, 2012

          I’m pretty sure that’s what Nick Clegg says whenever he’s asked about his party’s previous pledges and subsequent behaviour. ;)

          • Russell permalink
            May 21, 2012

            Dammit. Rumbled.

  4. May 21, 2012

    God, this post has cheered me up.

    • Miranda permalink*
      May 21, 2012

      I’m pleased to hear it. God knows we need it, eh. <3

  5. May 21, 2012

    A jetpack.

    IT’S 2012 ALREADY. JEEZ.

    • Miranda permalink*
      May 21, 2012

      I can’t believe we left that off.

      We are now honour bound to raise this the next time we are moved to mount a TwitBomb.



  6. wererogue permalink
    May 24, 2012

    To soothe some of your kids pirate lady needs, have a look at the pirate scooter my son’s aunt bought for him:

    Oh no, I’ve made a mistake. There is clearly only a Captain and a first mate here.

    Hey wait… take a closer look at that Captain…

    Ah, yes, there’s something fishy going on here. He’s got a fake peg leg! That’s his shoe you can see poking out from behind – he’s wearing a peg on his knee.

    Hey wait…

    He’s wearing a fake beard.

    And he has long ginger hair and green eyes.

    He is a SECRET LADY PIRATE. Or a secret beardless pirate, but I strongly suspect the former.

    I have so many concerns, and so many questions, but they are all quelled by the idea that my son’s pirate captain is a secret lady. It is the best. She can trade lady pirate stories with his goblin First Mate, Lula (also provided by his aunt :V ).

    • Miranda permalink*
      May 24, 2012

      Hey, wow, that’s actually kind of brilliant! Like you, I am trying to picture the design process/discussion for this particular outcome and failing somewhat (is this like the next best option than an undisguised female pirate, for example?) but I’m mainly just, like, telling myself it’s because the lead designer at Little Tikes wishes to convey a subtle yet pointed message about GENDER AS PERFORMANCE :D

      • wererogue permalink
        May 28, 2012

        My brain keeps trying to tell me that it’s for historical reasons, but I know damned well that there were actual real non-secret lady pirates, and they kicked all of the arses.

        • Miranda permalink*
          May 28, 2012

          Yes! Not just Bonney and Read, either. :)

          I wrote this a while ago:

          Need to actually do parts 2 to 5, shame on me!

          They were rarer than men, but definitely a presence. All around the world, too – some are ancient world, though, and even with the more modern ones the accounts are, I think, either sketchier than for the boys or often even more sensationalised.

          So it’s hard to get at the truth. However, for a toy designer I hold the legends to be a rich seam enough. Lady pirates! More of them on things I can buy! YES :)

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